I didn’t anticipate a lot of things about the life I’m living now. I didn’t anticipate how happy it was possible to be or that work/life balance would flow naturally from that peace. I didn’t know I would ever be comfortable with another human being watching me brush my teeth. I didn’t know that I would plan a wedding. But more than all of that, I didn’t know how it would change my day-to-day eating habits. That was truly unfathomable. From the moment we met, I knew I wanted to be with him forever. I did not, however, know that I would be inspired to adopt a largely vegetarian diet. While I still identify as a conscientious omnivore, my daily life is now lived as a vegetarian. With, admittedly, the odd oyster thrown in. This dish is the epitome of our everyday food. Simple, seasonal, vegetarian, one pan, and fast—a southern take on Seussian green eggs that’s my personal favorite in a growing arsenal of vegetarian meals.
It’s so simple. Collards (found in such abundance at the farmer’s market this time of year) lightly sautéed in a cast iron skillet with ginger, garlic, shallot, and a squeeze of lemon. Season to taste. When the greens are wilted, you lightly fry farm eggs nestled in the greens atop small pats of butter (I’ve been making my own lately!) and top it all with a generous handful of crumbled Athenos feta. It’s savory vegetarian perfection that’s equally good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The way the creamy egg yolks and salty cheese mingle with the spicy ginger and garlicky, lemony strips of greens reminds me of pasta—the collards are perfectly toothsome and similar to the old stand-by, kale.
So for your next meatless Monday (or meatless everyday if you live a meat free lifestyle!), give this a try. If you wanted to make a heartier meal of it, use it to top brown rice, quinoa, or farro. I find no need to be ascetic, but being more and more mindful of what I put into my body while also allowing myself creature comforts and pleasure (hello, cheese!) has made me feel so much better. Feast day foods & cravings are what inspire so much of my work as a recipe developer, but I’m becoming inspired by what tastes good and makes me feel good. I’ll never break up with butter, but we might need to have a polyamorous relationship with coconut oil & flaxseed oil. Everything in moderation. Moderation is key to enjoying a colorful, dynamic culinary life. Easier said than done, but when meals like this make up the bulk of your intake, you can enjoy that one special meal so much more.
garlic ginger collard greens + eggs & feta
A southern vegetarian breakfast this is a quick, easy one pan meal that can be made with whatever greens you find at your local farmer's market. Hot sauce doesn't hurt it.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 bunches of collards, stemmed and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1.5 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon of butter, divided
- 3-4 eggs
- 1/2 cup crumbled Athenos feta
- a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper
- In a large heavy skillet heat the oil over medium high. Add the garlic, shallot, and ginger along with the red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium low and saute until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add in half the collards and half the salt. Saute until starting to wilt and then add in the other half of the collards along with the rest of the salt. Continue to cook until wilted but still bright green. Stir in the lemon juice.
- Increase the heat to medium high and stir in the water or broth. Make nests in the collards for your eggs. I usually do one per person. Divide the butter between the eggs and put a pat in each little nest you've made for the eggs. When the butter melts crack each egg into the hole in the collards and sprinkles the feta on top of it all. Simmer until the white is just set and the yolk is still runny. Remove from heat, crack some pepper over the top and serve hot!